New Year in Kansas City Marred by Traffic Fatalities

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At least two fatal traffic accidents made for a grim New Year’s in Kansas City. A woman who had stopped on the side of the highway was killed when another vehicle struck her car. A toddler heading home from a New Year’s Eve party with her family died after a car hit her, possibly because of non-functioning street lights. The Missouri Highway Patrol reported five traffic fatalities statewide over the New Year’s holiday weekend, from 6:00 p.m. on December 30 to 11:59 p.m. on January 2. In total, troopers investigated 163 traffic accidents resulting in 75 injuries, plus 114 drunk driving arrests. These numbers are a slight increase over 2010-11’s numbers, which had 157 accidents and 70 injuries. Five people died in traffic accidents over last year’s holiday as well.

On the afternoon of Monday, January 2, a 40 year-old woman who had stopped her car on the right shoulder of Interstate 470 in Lee’s Summit was struck by another vehicle travelling west on the highway. Her car, according to new reports, was disabled. The other vehicle reportedly drove off the road and hit her 2000 Ford. She was pronounced dead at the scene by an investigator for the Jackson County Medical Examiner. A passenger in her car sustained minor injuries. The other driver was treated for moderate injuries. All three people involved were reported to be wearing seat belts. The accident forced the closure of the entrance ramp to the highway for over two hours. Media reports do not indicate if authorities intend to file charges in connection with the case, nor have any reports indicated what factors, if any, may have played a part in the accident.

New Year’s turned tragic for a family in Kansas City, Kansas. As they were crossing the street early in the morning of Sunday, January 1, a three year-old girl stopped to look for her mother. She was struck by a car and thrown about twenty feet. She sustained critical injuries and was rushed to the hospital, but she died on Monday. The driver stopped and has reportedly cooperated fully with police, and they are not expected to file charges.

The street lights where the accident occurred were reportedly not functioning at the time, so the girl was crossing the street in the dark. A car crash less than twenty-four hours before the accident had damaged a light. The city’s policy is to fix damaged lights within one business day. Because of the holiday, the light was not scheduled for repair until Tuesday, January 3. Authorities have not definitively identified the lack of lighting as a cause of the accident, but city officials have stated that they intend to review their procedures. The case raises interesting questions of the city’s liability. If the city failed to reasonably maintain safe crosswalk conditions, and that caused the accident, then the city could be liable for wrongful death and other damages.

Kansas City auto accident attorney Doug Horn advocates safe driving and represents the rights of people who have suffered injuries in auto accidents. For a free and confidential consultation, contact the firm today online or at (816) 795-7500.